Never Flush These Items Down Your Toilet

There is nothing quite like a blocked toilet to ruin your day. Not only does it leave your home smelling like a sewer, but the clean-up is a nightmare and water damage is no joke. But did you know that a lot of blockages can be avoided just by being savvy about what you put into your toilet? Let’s take a look at ten of the common causes of blockages so you can avoid a potentially costly mess.

Never Flush These Items Down Your Toilet

Paper That Isn’t Toilet Paper

Running out of toilet roll can be very frustrating, but don’t be tempted to reach for your tissue packet when it happens. Even though tissues may feel a lot like toilet paper, they are not designed to break up like your regular brand of loo roll. That goes the same for kitchen roll. Having to call out an emergency plumber because you ran out of toilet paper is not something you ever want to deal with.


This one is a bit less obvious, because you would think something like bleach would do a great job at cleaning a toilet. Unfortunately, while it is a fantastic cleaning product, bleach does its job a bit too well in toilets and can actually damage your porcelain. Not only that, but when mixed with some cleaning agents, bleach can produce toxic mustard gas. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to what you pour down your toilet and only use cleaners made for this purpose.


Did you know that hair is one of the leading causes of blocked drains in the UK? While hair on its own won’t cause a blockage, it can tangle up your other waste and can cause big problems. Hair is also surprisingly strong, and it doesn’t dissolve. This means that it will stay in your system for a while.


While on the topic of personal care, contact lenses are another no-go for toilets. While these items won’t cause any big blockages, they are a major cause of microplastic pollution in waterways. Once they leave your home, these lenses break down into tiny particles that can cause major environmental problems.


Speaking of flushed items that can impact the environment, did you know that your flushed ciggy could be poisoning animals? Cigarette butts contain not only microplastics but are also packed with toxic chemicals that are dangerous to fish in rivers and streams. Once your wastewater is processed, it is dumped back into our rivers and oceans, taking those toxins and microplastics with them.

Prescription Medication

Carrying on the trend of toxins, don’t be tempted to flush any medication, including expired prescription meds, on spring cleaning day. As they dissolve, pills release their active ingredients into the water around them, which can be harmful to any kind of animal or plant life that comes into contact with it.

Sanitary Products

Moving onto some of the bigger items you may be tempted to flush, we get to sanitary products. Pads and tampons are used by millions of people every day, but these should never make it into your plumbing. These products are made to be highly absorbent, which means they are fantastic at causing blockages in narrow pipes.

Baby Products

From nappies to wet wipes, baby products in the toilet are a big no. Just like pads, nappies are quite literally made to absorb liquids. They are also made to hold in any liquid they take on, meaning they won’t break down easily. Some wet wipes may be marketed as flushable, but just like tissues, they are a clogging hazard that is easily avoidable.


Moving onto other items that don’t break down in water, condoms are another commonly flushed item that cause problems for people and the environment. Even if they don’t clog your home pipes on their way down, they can cause major disruptions in underground sewerage systems. And if they manage to make it into the oceans and rivers, condoms can easily be mistaken for fish food.

Food and Cooking Fat

While cooking can be a relaxing and rewarding experience, the clean-up isn’t nearly as much fun. And if you did any frying, you may think pouring your used cooking fat down the toilet while your sink is full of dishes is safe. That’s what many people in Whitechapel thought too, until a “fatberg” weighing 130 tonnes was removed from under the streets of London in 2017. Fat may be liquid when it's hot, but as it cools, it congeals and solidifies, creating huge masses when it joins other fats in the sewers.

Taking care of your drains starts with you. Being careful about what you flush can help you avoid blocked drains and the headaches they bring with them. Unfortunately, sometimes blockages happen no matter how vigilant you are. If you are looking for a drainage company in the Hertfordshire area, First Response Drainage can help with even the most stubborn blockages.

We provide emergency drain clearance 24/7 across London & Herts. Call 0800 043 4860 and get your drains unblocked.